Housing Allowance: Records of Meeting Showed PDP NWC Members Voted Before Disbursement of Funds
*Atiku never discussed 2027 presidency with Wike, says Melaye
*Former VP, Okowa, Wabara hint of speedy resolution of party’s crisis
*Delta gov meets with PDP BoT members
Kunle Aderinokun in Lagos and Chuks Okocha in Abuja
Fresh facts have emerged indicating that the members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) actually voted and agreed to pay themselves housing allowance before the funds were disbursed, THISDAY has learnt.
The investigation further revealed that a meeting held in July where the decision was first reached, was presided over by the Deputy National Chairman (North) of the party, Ambassador Iliya Umar Damagun, as the party’s National Chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu was said to be outside the country.
This is coming as the spokesman of the PDP Presidential Campaign Management Committee, Senator Dino Melaye has debunked a report that the presidential candidate of the party, Atiku Abubakar promised to support the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike should he decide to contest the presidential election in 2027.
Also rising from a closed-door meeting held yesterday, the vice presidential candidate of the party and Governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa and the party’s Board of Trustees Reconciliation Committee, Senator Adolphus Wabara have promised that the crisis within the party would soon be resolved.
Atiku has also disclosed that the crisis would be resolved soon, stressing that he was still in talks with aggrieved members to resolve the lingering crisis.
According to a member of the NWC, the minutes of the NWC meeting showed that in the first meeting presided over by Damagun, the members had agreed to collect their housing allowances once funds were available.
It was however learnt that when Ayu returned from his medical checkup, and the issue was again brought up for discussion, he objected to the payment of the housing allowance, citing a lack of funds.
According to the minutes of the meeting, Ayu had insisted that the issue of the payment of housing allowance be ‘kept in view’.
THISDAY also learnt that on the second and third meetings where the issue came up again, Ayu insisted that the matter be put to vote.
According to the records of the NWC meeting, all the 18 members at the meeting unanimously voted without anyone objecting to the payment of the housing allowances.
It was gathered that since it was agreed that the allowances be paid, Damagun directed the payment.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Debo Ologunagba confirmed the processes, insisting that due process was followed and that no funds were paid into the account of any member of the NWC as a bribe for any purpose whatsoever.
Also corroborating this position, the immediate past National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan said, “there is no way this issue that we are discussing now would not have been debated, going by experience, in the National Working Committee, with minutes taken, and it will be agreeable to all members of the NWC what each member is going to get.
“So it is totally strange that people are talking about money legitimately earned as if it is a bribe. I will be surprised if any member of the NWC comes up to say that the issue was not discussed at the committee; that there was no agreement in the committee.”
“That has been the practice, that is what we met, and that is what we left,” he said.
Six NWC members, including the Deputy National Chairman (South), Taofeek Arapaja; National Woman Leader, Prof. Stella Effah-Attoe; National Vice Chairman (South-South), Chief Dan Orbih, and three others returned their housing allowances into the party’s coffers.
Meanwhile, a chieftain of the PDP in Akwa Ibom State, Effiong Etim has called on the National Executive Council (NEC) of the party to urgently call a meeting to ratify the suspension of the four NWC members involved in the publicity charade to bring the party to disrepute.
Meanwhile, Melaye has debunked a report that the presidential candidate of the party, Atiku promised to support the Rivers State Governor, Wike should he decide to contest the presidential election in 2027.
“At no time did Atiku Abubakar discuss such with Governor Wike. Atiku never promised or discuss 2027 with Governor Wike or anyone for that matter,” Melaye explained.
Former VP, Okowa, Wabara Hint of Possible Resolution of PDP Crisis
In a related development, Atiku; his running mate and Delta State governor, Okowa; and the party’s Board of Trustees Reconciliation Committee, Senator Wabara have hinted that the crisis within the party would soon be resolved.
Speaking yesterday in Gombe, shortly after opening a campaign office donated to him by a chieftain of the party in the state, Jamilu Isiyaku Gwamna, the former vice president expressed confidence that the crisis rocking the party would be resolved and that the PDP would go into the 2023 elections stronger.
Atiku said the PDP is still very popular, and as the oldest party in Nigeria, it stands the chance to win the 2023 presidential election.
“We have realised that we made mistakes and we are working to correct those mistakes and we believe that Nigerians have trust in us.
“Nigerians can compare our performances and the performance of our opponents and the difference is clear and our records can speak for us,” Atiku said.
On their part, the Delta State governor and the acting BoT Chairman, Wabara, spoke yesterday with journalists after the BoT met with Okowa at Delta State Governor’s Lodge in Abuja.
They expressed the confidence that all the stakeholders would for work for PDP success in 2023 general election.
Okowa also expressed the confidence that no leader of the party would work against PDP in next year’s general elections.
“Governors and other members who are aggrieved are members of the party; I believe that my brothers would all work for the party. PDP is home and they belong to that home. They are not going to destroy their home.
“So, we will all work together. I do believe that we’ll continue to talk with ourselves and resolve the little issues that are left,” Okowa said.
Okowa, who described the closed-door meeting as largely fruitful, said that the party leaders, including governors, were interacting to resolve differences within the party.
“We understand that yet, there is some level of disagreement, but we will continue to stay in touch with ourselves to resolve the issues,” Okowa said.
The Delta State governor recalled that on Tuesday they were in the South-east where the governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi hosted them very well, describing it as a very positive step forward.
“We had very useful interactions with all our leaders in the South-east and I think that is a great plus for us as a party.
“I believe too that you’re aware, too that we were in the South-west where we were very well received by Gov. Seyi Makinde and the stakeholders of the party. A few issues are still left on the table.
“I am sure we’ll come to discuss it and in the next few days, we are convinced that will be largely reconciled.”
Okowa advised Nigerians to be guided in making their choices in the 2023 general elections by electing Atiku.
He said that Nigeria needed Atiku, a detribalised man with the right experience, humility, and calmness to address present challenges and ready to keep Nigeria together.
On his part, Wabara said that the BoT special reconciliation committee visited Okowa on the ongoing crisis in the party and also to proffer solutions to those issues.
Wabara who said that the committee was properly briefed by Okowa, said that the committee members would soon meet Atiku and Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State.
“The committee is enlightened now on the issues and we’re moving forward. Like I said the last time, we have been going around and we met most of the governors.
“In the coming days, we will also meet with the principal, the presidential candidate, former Vice President, Atiku, and from there we will proceed to meet with Governor Wike.
“We have met with some other governors, we have met Governor Samuel Ortom, Governor Seyi Makinde, Governor Seyi Makinde, Governor Ahmadu Fintri, Governor Ikpeazu and Ugwuanyi of Enugu State.
“We have what it takes to resolve this, and very soon we will resolve all these issues,” Wabara explained.
Others at the meeting include Former Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki; and former PDP Deputy National Chairman, Alhaji Shuaibu Oyedokun.